(AUG. 18) —Spectacular song and dance numbers from UP Diliman (UPD) performing groups, inspirational messages from university officials, enthusiastic introductions from the college deans and a fierce display of academic freedom by the student council and student activists welcomed the new batch of Iskolar ng Bayan at the “Freshie Welcome Assembly 2017” (FWA) on Aug. 7 at the University Theater.
The FWA is a yearly tradition organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA) to familiarize new freshmen with the administration officials and treat them to a showcase of best performances from UPD’s homegrown talents.
At noon, hundreds of excited freshies lined up at the University Theater lobby to attend their first UPD event. They were welcomed by members of various student organizations who handed flyers, freebies and survival kits.
While waiting for the program to start, broadcast talents of DZUP 1602, UPD’s official radio station, announced their program line up and engaged the punctual freshies to a game where participants were asked to play the longest “Happy Birthday” greeting with a twist—instead of “Happy Birthday,” they were asked to say “Kasali Ka!” which is DZUP’s tagline.
As soon as everyone was seated, FWA’s ever perky emcee, Dr. Vanessa Lusung-Oyzon, a College of Education faculty, announced the entrance of the college deans and university officials, Vice President for Administration Nestor G. Yunque and UPD Chancellor Michael L. Tan.
This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem with the accompaniment of the UP ROTC Band under the baton of John Vincent E. Burgos.
Yunque delivered the message on behalf of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion who had a prior commitment that day. The President, however, was able to catch up a few minutes later and gave his inspirational message to the freshies.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor, greeted the freshmen and gave 10 tips to survive college life at UPD.
Tan’s advice to the freshies are: 1) Eat right; 2) Get enough sleep; 3) Keep moving by doing more exercises since a healthy body is the best way to develop a healthy mind; 4) Use or set deadlines; 5) If things don’t work out, take a break; 6) Express yourself and get wacky sometimes; 7) Cultivate and nurture new interests and develop your passion; 8) Laugh often and spend less; 9) Love much and 10) Live well.
“Live well, laugh often and love much,” came from a very simple advice given by American writer Bessie Anderson Stanley who wrote the poem entitled “Success” Tan said.
The Chancellor also reminded the freshies, to not “get illusions of saving the world. Begin with small things including knowing what your values are, becoming a mabuting tao rather than just being mabait na tao. At the very basic level, it’s learning to be kind, gracious and considerate.”
Meanwhile, the UP President said “I hope that your desire to be in UP is sustained throughout your stay with us and this desire is matched by diligence and passion in pursuit of your studies and other experiences that will contribute to your holistic growth as productive members of society.”
He assured the freshies “I can tell you for certain that you can expect to live some of the best years of your life in this university because of our traditions of liberal education and academic freedom. I assure you that this is a place where you are free to express your views and open countless interactions with people from different walks of life.”
“UP Diliman is a flagship campus. It has the biggest student population, the most number of degree programs,” he said. “Make the most out of being here. Engage in conversations and constructive discussion with people from different backgrounds. Learn from them as they learn from you,” Concepcion added.
Halfway through Concepcion’s speech, a group of student activists with raised fists began to shout “Socialized tuition scam, ibasura!” They also held placards with statements like “No to Tuition Fee Collection,” “No to Socialized Tuition Scam” “Junk STS” and “Free Education Now!”
To which the president calmly responded “Hintayin po ninyo. Lalabas ngayong hapon ang katuparan ng lahat ng inyong isinisigaw. Huwag sana ninyong kalilimutan na kayo ay mga paaral ng taong bayan. Subalit huwag ninyong ituring na ang inyong edukasyon ay isang utang na dapat ninyong pagbayaran sa taong bayan. Ito po ang ganang pananaw ng inyong lingkod.”
Speaking on behalf of the freshmen was Jason Dwight S. Catindig from the Cesar E.A. Virata School 0f Business (VSB).
Catindig said, “Kahit ano pa man ang sitwasyon natin ngayon, ang batayan ng ating pamamalagi sa UP ay ang ating mga gagawin mula ngayon. Kung dismayado ka kasi hindi ka nakapasa sa gusto mong kurso, may pagkakataon ka pa namang makalipat. Kung dismayado ka kasi pinilit ka ng mga magulang mo na kumuha ng ibang kurso, hindi lang naman iyon ang magiging sandigan ng kalidad nang pananatili mo sa Unibersidad.”
He asked his fellow freshies, “Huwag sana nating kalimutan na bahagi tayo ng isang pangkat na may maraming magagandang katangian. Bahagi tayo ng isang paaralang may kalayaan ang mga mag-aaral na maipahayag ang kanilang mga pananaw. Bahagi tayo ng isang paaralan na may mayamang kultura at maraming mga tanyag na katauhang naghubog sa ating bansa. Huwag sana nating kalimutan kung sino talaga tayo. May iba kasi na masyadong nadadala sa mga bagay na sa unang tingin ay makakatulong sa kanila ngunit paglaon ay nakakasira pala.”
Lastly, Catindig said, “Sana, tayo ay maging mas maunawain. May mga bagay tayong hindi nakasanayan na makikita natin sa Unibersidad. Culture shock sa Ingles, ika nga. Nawa’y maging bukas tayo sa mga ganito.”
The freshmen were later introduced to the UP President and UPD chancellor and other officials by the respective deans of the colleges.
With great pride and in high spirits, the college deans introduced their respective freshmen who responded in thunderous claps and deafening cheers while waving either flags, balloons and/or placards.
Freshies from some colleges were also wearing color-coordinated shirts: green for the College of Home Economics, white for the College of Social Work and Community Development, orange for the College of Engineering (CoE), yellow for the College of Science, purple and white for the School of Statistics and blue for VSB. The College of Fine Arts, on the other hand, were all wearing cute headgears which they made themselves.
VSB had the most number of freshmen who attended the FWA followed by CoE.
Meanwhile, Prof. Gilda Uy, officer-in-charge of the UPD Office of International Linkages, introduced and welcomed the 66 international exchange students from Thailand (1), Malaysia (2), Cambodia (2), Australia (1), Sweden (1), France (2), Germany (2), Austria (3), Korea (9) and Japan (41).
University Student Council (USC) chair Benjie Allen D. Aquino later introduced the USC members and College Student Council through a video they prepared.
The event was made more exciting with impressive performances from Overduo, the guitar duo from the College of Music, UP Streetdance Club, UP Pintinig, a university-wide singing organization formed in 2015 under the baton of Benedict Justin Velasco; UP Filipiniana Dance Group, UP Dancesport Society, UP Concert Chorus, under the baton of CM Professor Janet Sabas-Aracama, and the UP Varsity Pep Squad.
Prof. Jerwin F. Agpaoa, vice chancellor for student affairs, delivered the closing remarks. The program culminated with the singing of “UP Naming Mahal.”